Monday, June 4, 2012

Straight men vs. lesbians; babies make us all nuts.

Well here we are, day 8 of my cycle. We decided to once again skip a cycle. My partner and I have come a long way in terms of the urgency to continue back-to-back IUI's. This month's challenge: to take or not to take a summer vacation. In just a few weeks, I will be traveling to Miami for a whole week to attend a seminar. Unfortunately, we can only afford to either do an IUI or have my partner travel with me. I left the decision up to her; I didn't want to influence her priority. After much discussion and a little advice from some friends, we decided a vacation was in order. I'm glad she'll be with me in Miami. A huge reason I'm going is to sit for a test potentially giving me national certification as a floral designer; it's a big deal for my career and it will be wonderful to have my rock with me.

This will be our third month in a row off from baby-making. I don't know what it is, but I've had a few noteworthy experiences with men and babies during this time. You might remember a few months ago my pal from CVS; a young, hopeful father who was emotionally struggling with his own infertility challenges with his wife. I could tell how badly he wanted pregnancy to happen for them (and sense his nervousness and helplessness), but could also see that they had real infertility challenges to overcome.

Then, there is one of my co-workers. He is a new father; their baby was born just a couple months ago. Throughout their entire pregnancy, he was excited and totally amped up. And now that their little girl is here, he beams with pride. The other day he brought her to work to have lunch with his mother-in-law. I ran into him outside. It was another beautiful, amazing day in the north country with just perfect weather. The group of girls I was with asked him 'So how are you liking it so far?' I don't think anyone could have smacked the smile off his face. My face hurt just looking at his flexed cheeks. He just loves every minute of it.

And lastly, there is my mechanic. I drive a lot, about 150 miles a day, so I get my oil changed about once every 6 weeks. He works at a large dealership and does other side jobs after hours. A couple oil changes ago, he mentioned to me that they we expecting their second child. Ever since that weeknight after work, our oil changes are sort of like joint pregnancy therapy sessions. He is truly a guys sort of guy, but I know that he is stressed out about having another baby. How to pay for everything, how to start all over with an infant, the stress it can put on a relationship, how to learn again to identify the needs of a baby and if there's something wrong....they can't just tell you how they feel!! I know he's a great father for their daughter, but who would have thought that he carried so much stress about having another?

It all makes me think about that day a few months ago that I sat in my PCP's office crying over my own pregnancy stresses. She said something that has stuck with me. 'It's amazing how people, whether men or women, gay or straight, cope with pregnancy and babies in general.' Babies are at the root of our very being. We strive to reproduce. It is viewed as an achievement in life. Everyone has their concerns, but I agree, what's really interesting is how certain concerns match up with certain genders and sexual preferences. Women have different stresses than men. Gay women have different stresses than straight women. But, gay couples still have the same concerns as straight couples, we just cope with them differently. Even though we're lesbians, one of us (or both in some cases) share these somewhat male emotions of feeling helpless and disconnected in the fertility process, beaming with pride at the thought of a baby, or feeling worried about providing for and developing a small life. Simply put, babies screw with everyone's mental state equally; there is no discrimination or minority here.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

My glass is half full of gin and tonic.

Optimism is something that several of you have commented on recently. You say, 'Gee, you're so optimistic through all of this, even though you're having challenges.' Well, let me be the first to tell you that is a load of crap and there aren't any daisies growing out of it.

In our relationship I am always the one to be positive for the long-haul. My partner is a little impatient....(those of you who know her, breathe, stop laughing so hard, you might hurt yourself). It's not that she is insensitive or thoughtless of my feelings or others, on the contrary (just the other day, she got out of her car on a busy street, ran over to the local police department and asked some poor cop to come out and direct traffic so that a duck family could cross the road). It's just that we both assumed that we would be pregnant by now and it's starting to take a toll on us (and she is usually the first to express it...and often). For the record, I have all of these same, negative feelings, but my process for dealing with them isn't so immediate. I rein them in at the moment, suppress them, dwell on them, and then add them to my fire for later use.

We live in a fairly middle class neighborhood that is only steps from the hood ('hood' is a relative term in central NH I get it, but it's the only hood we have). It is hard to watch half-naked teenage girls smoking cigarettes, walking their babies down the street with their skinny-ass, drug-dealing boyfriends in tow. Having a baby was clearly easy for them. What can I say? They don't know any different; their mother probably had them when she was 15 too. We live in the northeast; it's not like the bible belt and there's a shortage of birth control or condoms. I too was a teenager once, and I'm not perfect. I started smoking when I was 17 and it was awesome. I had dreams of running away with my queer little band geek friends somewhere where my mother couldn't tell me that I can't be gay because I'd never make it financially without a man (why the fuck didn't we for real do this? LOL). I am stereotyping and assuming the aspirations of these hopefully/somewhat/a little/barely driven adolescents in my town, but even if you are a Fertile Myrtle, don't act like you've never had these thoughts when walking through the Walmart in your white hood.

Instead of sharing these or any other depressing, negative thoughts with all of you on a regular basis, I choose to be optimistic, informative for those who may not be as far along in the process are we are, and hopefully a little humorous. Ultimately, I'd rather be drinking gin and tonic and not pregnant than smoking and banging some shithead little boy. Gross.

I very much appreciate all of your positive comments. Just know that there is a normal, judgemental, selfish person somewhere beneath all of this optimism.

Eventually we'll have a baby, my love. I just know it.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Hey, it's me. Sorry.

I don't even know where I left off, and no, I didn't go back and read my previous post from weeks ago. So, that said, I'll just give you the current run-down.

After IUI #10, we more seriously considered IVF and decided that it just wasn't in our financial future. That was March I think. In April, we decided to take a month off so that our checking account could recover from the winter's many oil bills and birthday-month Jeep repairs and registration (happy birthday to us, state of NH DOT). Now it's May and I will start my period in about two weeks. Let the baby-making re-commence.

I haven't used our beautiful MacBook Pro in a few days. Last night I said to my partner, 'I noticed that you got red wine all over's on the coffee table and on the floor all the way into the kitchen.' She replied, 'well, that's because I dumped an entire glass of red wine on the computer.'

Deep breath in, exhale out.


'Yeah, and now the keyboard is fucked up and the back-lighting doesn't work.'


Now I think I'm on my way to a Mac Store's fix-it bar thingy since I am literally pounding the keys to get them to work...and the mouse pad really isn't doing anything.

See you in a couple weeks....

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sonohysterosalpingogram....why are these tests so freakin' hard to say?

We went in for our SSG last week. This is a test where a balloon in inserted into the uterus with a catheter. Then they fill the balloon with air and saline so the full outline of the uterus is visible via ultrasound. I really do have a challenging situation down there for these doctors and nurses. None of them can easily get through my cervix. It takes forever with lots of painful prodding and poking and 'clamping' (which I just would rather not think about). Just about as our doctor was ready to give up, it worked. The picture was so cool to see (just like it was from when we had the HSG). I do in fact have two small polyps right next to each other. One is 4mm and the other is 5mm. Relatively speaking, these are very small polyps.

Following my probing, we spoke with our doctor in her office. She has left the decision for removal up to us as there really isn't much research dealing with the success rate of pregnancy following removal of polyps that are so small. She said that most would consider removal only if they were 1 or 1.5 centimeters or larger. I asked her about how we would go about removing them. Prior to my appointment, she had said that it could happen either in the office or in the OR. After her challenging experience trying to get in my hoo haa just now, she said she would do it under full anesthesia in the OR so that all the possible tools needed would be accessible. She did recommend that if we are going to move forward with IVF that we would want to remove them in order to create the best possible scenario for pregnancy.

I am thinking that I'm all set with full anesthesia in the OR for tiny polyps that may not really be affecting anything, and my partner is totally behind that as well. And I don't think we're going to move forward with IVF. Our insurance does not cover any part of it. I did speak with the financial advisor at Dartmouth Hitchcock and she did prepare me by telling me to sit down. The procedure is $7500 and the drugs could be an additional $5 or $6000. Wholly shit fuck. For only a 50% chance of success, we've decided that we'll pass for now.

After saying this to our doctor, she asked us what our plan is for moving forward if we're not going to do IVF. We have been thinking about this a lot lately. A couple weeks ago, my mentality was that I could only handle two or three more IUI's before I would be completely tapped emotionally. Today, I think we could go on like this for a while more. Who's to say that there aren't lots of women who have small polyps and have had kids successfully (since there isn't much research...)? Obviously, there has to be an end to IUI's at some point (hopefully because I'm pregnant, duh). If that point comes we would consider adoption. For now, I am focusing on the positive. It's time to stop thinking like someone who is a part of an 'infertility department' at a 'hospital' and start thinking like a 'normal' lesbian :-) hehe...

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Fertility Mug is Broken

It's Monday and I'm sitting here, writing my blog and drinking coffee out of the fertility mug. I'm not so convinced that it's actually helping me get pregnant as much as it is a reminder of some of my closest friends who are so supportive.

A few months ago my partner and I went back home to western MA to celebrate our friend's surprise birthday. We had made plans with her partner to stay at their house that night so we didn't have to get a hotel room. It was so much fun to surprise her!

Later that night, we went back to their house to get settled in. There was one more present to open: a coffee mug for the birthday girl. This was no ordinary mug. The birthday girl has asked for a new, hand-made mug from her favorite potter. When she opened it up, I mentioned how much I liked it as well. And then my guest bedroom was calling....I have such a low tolerance for booze now that I barely drink anything at all....

The next morning as we were getting ready to go, both of our hosts approached me with a box. I knew the mug was in it. After asking why they were giving it to me, they said 'it can be your fertility mug,' and the name sort of stuck.

No matter how I've tried to think positive this week, as I tinkled on the stick and saw the results of IUI #10, I knew the outcome would be negative.  I've had cramps for days now. I found my phone and sent a text to the WMA girls.  'The fertility mug is broken.' But just as quickly as that text was sent, they replied with their super-supportive attitudes and comments. I wish so much (for both of our sakes) that we were physically closer to some of our friends back home. It's hard sometimes when we only have each other here. We are definitely due for a visit.

We now are going to do some additional testing to measure the size of the polyps and determine if they are in fact big enough to be hindering implantation. Once we have that information, we'll decide if we're going to remove them.

I think we'll remove them anyway. It seems to be the only logical thing that is keeping me from getting pregnant at this point.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Loser sperm: balls over brains

We decided to change sperm donors for our most recent attempt. This will be our 4th donor I think?? Lost count I guess. Well, let's go back, donor #1 was a chiropractor from California Cryobank, donor #2 was a rocket scientist (literally) also CC, donor #3 was the molecular biologist from Midwest Sperm Bank, and yes, donor #4 is also from Midwest.

One of these things is not like the other. One of these things is really not the same.

We'd been talking about changing donors for days. Finally, we were sitting on the couch watching TV at like 9:30 at night and she's like, 'hey, I thought we were going to change donors this time?'

'Yeah, get on the website and pick one.'

Literally two minutes later, 'okay buy this one.'

This was very quick for my partner, who is the one obsessed with the donor selection. When I asked what his deal was, she said, 'I think he's a loser. Maybe he has viable sperm.'

Donor #4 is officially our first non-advanced degree, science or math professional. I think he has a high school education and likes skateboarding. He might have red hair. Maybe he smokes a little weed. Not a lot of weed, that would be bad for sperm count. He's just relaxed and has no responsibilities! He sounds refreshing! Hopefully he's a little smart, somewhere, deep down inside. But hey, if I gave birth to the next Tony Hawk or Shawn White, that would be awesome too. I guess it's fine if the kid doesn't go to MIT on a scholarship.

'Okay, perfect.'

Sunday, March 18, 2012

super sound...ultra un-sound

I am in love with March so far. I can't get over the weather. It is so freakin' nice! Today we were cruising around with the top down on the grape ape (she's our jeep wrangler, duh...we are a couple lesbians after all. You didn't think it was our camero did you?) soaking up the sun. We raked our yard, which is now currently the earliest we've ever been able to! I am feeling mentally well, emotionally fit, and physically happy. I am feeling sound for the first time in months.

Except for our ultrasound last Friday.

For the second time, we went in for an ultrasound to hunt down my little follicle eggies and see when I should trigger my ovulation with the Ovidrel injection. I wasn't really paying attention this time, sort of just chatting with the nurse while she quite literally 'probed' me with her probe. She mentioned some test, had I done it? I said no, I hadn't. The conversation continued.

Later that day when I got a voicemail from my doctor (not my nurse, red flag), I realized that the ultrasound lady saw something that morning (hence the reason she asked me about that test). The doctor said that there is a large cyst in my ovary that she was unsure of. Was it a follicle and not a cyst? Hard to tell. She sent me to get blood work to determine if it was in fact a huge ass egg. She also said there were two small polyps. All of this caught me off guard at the time. I don't really know much about either cysts or polyps. She said that we shouldn't hold off on our impending IUI, but that we should come in and discuss this with her. So, off I went to get stabbed again. Hard to believe I have any blood left at this point!

Blood work came back negative. Not an egg. The doctor had me wait until last night to do the Ovidrel. I am almost a pro now that I've injected myself twice. I joke and say that I could be a heroin addict now that I know how to do self-injections. My partner says I can't; we're too poor from all this non-baby-making to be doing heroin.

IUI #10 is tomorrow morning. As I sit here on the patio, enjoying the weather and catching a buzz off a single, fine, twisted tea, I think I'll be okay without the heroin.